Blurb: Chloe Sanderson is an optimist, and not because her life is easy. As the sole caregiver for her father, who has early onset Alzheimer's, she's pretty much responsible for everything. She has no time—or interest—in getting swept up in some dazzling romance. Not like her best friend Annie, who literally wrote a rom-com that's about to premiere in theaters across America...and happens to be inspired by Chloe and Nick Velez, Chloe's cute but no-nonsense boss.
As the buzz for the movie grows, Chloe reads one too many listicles about why Nick is the perfect man, and now she can't see him as anything but Reason #2: The Scruffy-Bearded Hunk Who's Always There When You Need Him. But unlike the romance Annie has written for them, Chloe isn't so sure her own story will end in a Happily Ever After.
Review: I am staunchly anti-closed door sex scenes (personal preference), but I am also pro-cute covers, which is what led me to read Winfrey's first book in this series Waiting on Tom Hanks. I thought the book was cute--and full of 90s rom-com cliches I didn't entirely appreciate because I haven't seen any of them-- but overall the book just wasn't really my speed. I couldn't resist picking up Not Like The Movies though because the cover is just gah! amazing.
And, very surprisingly, I loved this book. What it lacking in sexy-times it more than made up for in angst and sexual tension. And it was out of the box, too. The heroine doesn't want to get married or have kids. The hero is sensitive and thoughtful (but also adorably grumpy). There are grand gestures and no ones problems are fixed by dick... which, let's be honest, should not be happening in a 2020 romance novel. If I have diagnosed anxiety that is running my life it should not be fixed by a man's amazing sexual prowess... that's all I have to say about that.
Chloe and Nick are the inspiration behind Annie's (our heroine from Waiting For Tom Hanks) upcoming movie in which a coffee shop owner and his employee give in to their sexy banter and fall in love. Only Chloe doesn't even know she likes Nick until the movie trailer, and all her subsequent internet fans, make her realize that all that bantering is really a cover for intense sexual attraction.
Chloe's internal dialogue, and external dialogue for that matter, had me keeling over with laughter almost constantly. I loved watching her come to the realization that maybe she actually finds Nick attractive. And her struggles throughout the book were really relatable and honest. I'd go from laughing to tearing up and back again so fast I almost had whiplash.
Nick is so freaking grumpy and out of touch with social media and pop culture. And he always treats Chloe with such respect and adoration (even if she can't realize the latter). Truly the hero a romance novel deserves. I couldn't get enough of him!
This is the perfect read for those who appreciate a good slow burn (some reviews argue that it's not technically a slow burn but I'm still going to call it that as there is no sexy-times until quite far into the book), romcom-worthy banter/jokes/dialogue (this book is seriously funny), but still enjoys more than humor from their reads (it gets deep and sad and real at times).
Out July 7th, 2020. Shop bookshop.org if you can and support your local independent bookstores.